Andreas Wittel

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Andreas Wittel, studies the anthropology of modern work.

He now works at Nottingham Trent University, School of Arts, Communication, and Culture

He is also the coiner of the concept of Network Sociality.

Bio:

Andreas Wittel is a lecturer in the School of Arts, Communication, and Culture at Nottingham Trent University. He teaches and researches new media and the culture of the new economy and is also part of the Theory, Culture and Society Centre. Previously he was a research associate at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London. He studied Cultural Studies and Political Science in Tübingen (Germany), Eugene (Oregon) and Santiago de Chile. Andreas worked a few years as a free lance journalist and gave seminars for the German trade unions. Since 1996 he holds a PhD in Social Science from the University of Tübingen. The book called Belegschaftskultur im Schatten der Firmenideologie is an ethnographic case study of the way employees of a multinational company in the information industry deal with their corporate ideology.

After completing the PhD he worked at the Institut für Arbeitswissenschaft (Department of Labor Studies) at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) and studied the establishment of work groups in production plants and the self-organizational processes of these work groups. See also the publication Gruppenarbeit und Arbeitshabitus (1998, in 'Zeitschrift für Soziologie' 3).

Currently he has four main research interests: - new media and cultural industries - anthropology of work - social change - new forms of ethnography (here I am especially interested in the theoretical and methodological implications of ethnographic studies of and within global worlds)

Bio from http://virtualsociety.sbs.ox.ac.uk/people/wittel.htm


Andreas Wittel on Network Sociality

" The term network sociality can be understood in contrast to ‘community’. Community entails stability, coherence, embeddedness, and belonging. It involves strong and long-lasting ties, proximity and a common history or narrative of the collective. Network sociality stands counterposed to Gemeinschaft. It does not represent belonging but integration and disintegration… In network sociality social relations are not ‘narrational’ but informational; they are not based on mutual experience or common history, but primarily on an exchange of data and on ‘catching up’. Narratives are characterised by duration, whereas information is defined by ephemerality. Network sociality consists of fleeting and transient, yet iterative social relations; of ephemeral but intense encounters. Narrative sociality often take place in bureaucratic organisations. In network sociality the social bond at work is not bureaucratic but informational; it is created on a project by project basis, by the movement of ideas, the establishment of solely temporary standards and protocols, and the creation and protection of proprietory information. Network sociality is not characterised by a separation but by a combination of both work and play. It is constructed on the grounds of communication and transport technology. Network…, I suggest a shift away from regimes of sociality in closed social systems and towards regimes of sociality in open social systems. Both communities and organisations are social systems with clear boundaries, with a highly defined inside and outside. Networks however are open social systems." (source: Theory, Culture & Society 18 (6), p51-76